What type and where should I set up a birdbath?
Birds need a reliable source of water for drinking and bathing. Having a well-positioned birdbath can enhance your enjoyment of watching birds and bring a larger variety of birds to your yard. There are many birdbaths on the market, from large concrete style to simple plastic and glass affairs. The best birdbaths mimic rain puddles, which are natural birdbaths. Ideal birdbaths are shallow basins with a slight slope so the birds can wade into the water. Keep the water level at ½ to 1-inch-deep at the edges. They can slope to a maximum of 2 inches deep in the middle. Place the birdbath in the shade, near shrubs and trees. By placing small stones or sticks for the birds to perch on, they can drink without getting wet.
One the best ways to make a birdbath attractive to birds is to have moving water incorporated into its design. Many birds find the sight and sound of moving water irresistible. There are many birdbaths on the market that have small pumps in them with water reservoirs for recycling the water.
Birdbaths should have their water changed daily, especially in the hot summer months. If you see algae beginning to grow on the bottom of your birdbath, clean it out with some hot water and a good scrub brush. If you have a birdbath with moving water, the chances of algae developing is slowed but not eliminated.
What kind of feeder should I get if I’ve got a problem with squirrels?
When we are talking about feeding song birds, the caged feeder is probably the most popular kind. They come in a large variety of sizes and shapes. There are many companies that sell caged bird feeders. You can also find plastic domes that have a ring on the top of the dome and a hook underneath. I have found by wiring the dome midway between two trees and hooking the feeder below, the squirrels have a very difficult time reaching the feeder. If they are lucky enough to climb out on the thin wire, they find it impossible to reach under the dome.
Now, if you really want to stop the enemy in their track you need to make a hefty investment in a tripper bird feeder or a whipper bird feeder. These feeders have a rechargeable battery powered motor that will either dip or spin squirrels off of them. They can hold the weight of up to four cardinals, about 8oz, but spin or dip grey squirrels with no mercy. I have a spinner at my house that’s only 21/2 feet off my deck railing and the squirrels have all learned that it’s useless to try and eat from it. Now and then a new comer will climb the hanging pole and try to chew its way into the top, or brazenly grab hold the ring and take a quick ride around the feeder. That’s usually his last attempt.